The Jewish Agency for Israel is launching the ‘COVID-19 Loan Fund for Communities in Crisis (The Fund),’ together with its partners Keren Hayesod and Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA). This comes in response to urgent calls from communities and organizations in countries such as Italy, Spain, South Africa, South American communities, and others to provide immediate cash flow. This fund will provide no-interest loans to organizations providing services essential to the continuing existence of Jewish communities which are now at-risk to survive the COVID-19 crisis.
The Fund for Communities in Crisis will provide immediate working capital loans, with no interest, to communities in-danger outside North America.
In its initial phase, the Fund will total $10 million and will provide loans of up to $350,000 to each community or organization, enabling them to continue functioning during this challenging period. The loans will be provided for four years and will be repaid – with no interest – at the end of the first year, in four installments. Further information on applying for the loans can be found at: https://www.jewishagency.org/communities-loan-fund/
The Fund will be overseen by representatives from the three partner organizations, chaired by leaders from The Jewish Agency’s Board of Governors, Beth Kieffer Leonard and Richard Pearlstone. They will be joined by an advisory committee comprised of financial experts from across Europe and South America, along with professionals from the various communities to help assess needs and design the appropriate response.
Several Italian Jewish communities have already requested assistance. They are in need of urgent financial support that will enable them to continue their regular activities and provide basic services to the communities over the course of the coming months. These communities have experienced serious hardships since the outbreak of the COVID-19 crisis, with a sharp decline in its income due to the overall economic downturn. These are among the oldest Jewish communities in Europe with a rich history that has not only sustained vibrant Jewish life over the years, but also provided significant financial support to the establishment and support of the State of Israel.